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All adults in 28 B.C. communities targetted for COVID-19 vaccines

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated May 2, 2021 at 5:34 pm PDT

FILE -- Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force draws a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Winnipeg, Friday, March 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

There are 28 remote communities that are being targeted to receive shots in Island Health's 'whole community approach'

Uptake has been enthusiastic, rollout smooth in Tofino and on Denman Island

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Nearly all adult residents in certain B.C. island communities are already vaccinated as part of an effort to get residents immunized in places with small populations, where there are barriers to accessing large clinics.

There are 28 remote communities that are being targeted to receive shots in Island Health’s “whole community approach.”

Dan Law, mayor of Tofino says most residents there received the jab in April.

“The whole community approach saw excellent community uptake and superb community response,” he says.

“Certainly we saw a very high percentage of that segment of our population get the vaccine,” says Law.

Law says the rollout has been smooth.

“I must say the nurses, the volunteers, the admin staff, and Island Health as a whole were extremely efficient. It was very well run. It was a fun time, actually, going to get the vaccine and seeing so many people quitely assembled in a room getting their vaccine really just having a good time. That’s what it seemed like to me,” he says.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.: What you need to know

Daniel Arbour, with the Comox Valley Regional District says, the health authority brought a team to Denman island last week.

“All remote communities in B.C. were happy that the provincial government decided to do community clinics. There’s been fear for a long time about the vulnerability about our population on a small island, and how devastating an outbreak could be,” says Arbour.

He adds, residents that didn’t get a vaccine last week can get it in nearby Courtenay.

“Sometimes I hear from the general public, ‘Why is it that remote communities get to go ahead quicker than others?’ I’m just reminding people that in those communities, the resources are few and every person really makes a difference to the function of the community. I think it’s great that the province noticed some of the risk, including in Denman, Hornby, Tofino, and also First Nations communities, ” says Arbour.

“It really saves a lot of time and money and resources for everybody to [not have to] go to major town centres.”

Vaccine rollout on Denman Island ran for three days from April 28 to April 30, with the majority of people opting to get the jab.

“I’ve talked to people who have gotten vaccinated and they were really impressed with how smoothly and professional it was,” says Arbour.

If travel province-wide travel resumes in the summer months, Arbour said he’s glad residents will have an extra layer of protection.

“We know it’s still in the third wave, we’re not out of the woods, but I think between social distancing and vaccinations — that puts us in a much better shape than we’ve been before,” said Arbour.

“I feel good about how the rest of the province is really not far behind, and that in the next couple of months the majority of the province will be vaccinated.”